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Apple bars direct iPhone app distribution

updated 06:50 pm EDT, Tue September 23, 2008

Apple bars app sharing

Continuing the ongoing drama revolving around the iTunes App Store, Apple recently announced it is blocking developers' abilities to distribute iPhone applications outside of iTunes. PhoneNews reports that Apple previously allowed developers to distribute apps directly to users by binding the software to the serial number of their iPhone. While Apple is within its rights to moderate the iTunes sales channel, moderating all venues of application deliver could land Apple in legal trouble over monopoly concerns.

Apple is now observing similar practices to BREW carriers like Verizon, who offer closed software/hardware ecosystems, often called "walled gardens" in the industry. Verizon recently buckled to legal pressure in the matter, and now allows users to use any application they desire on their devices.

Also on the horizon is the T-Mobile G1, the first official Google Android phone, which promises users a completely open source experience for application and OS development/modification.

by MacNN Staff



  1. InfraredAD

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Helicopter Parents

    Nobody likes 'em...

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not exactly...

    Apple blocked one particular developer from using "ad-hoc distribution", not all developers. Let's keep to the facts, please. Aside from the argument of whether Apple's terms are good, they do not seem to have changed them, and I'm pretty sure the Podcaster developer was stretching those terms pretty far.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Glad to see this happen, cause it is going to land Apple in a world of hurt with an Obama Justice Department. Stupid, purely stupid move, but typical of Jobs who thinks that top-down control is the answer for everything. Would someone please give that man a book on chaos theory!

  1. bleee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blocking apps

    I don't think Apple should block any apps... apps like net share are extremely useful. Essentially what Apple is doing is helping the carriers milk me for more money... apps like net share allow users to tether their iPhones to laptops... by banning net share it forces me to have to pay my carrier additional money for a stand alone USB 3G modem as well as purchase additional bandwidth... why should I have to buy bandwidth twice?

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A Free Market

    Let them try to keep control. If the market of customers wants a more 'open' phone, then they'll go for the alternatives.

    Now as to which alternatives are even comparable to the iPhone, that's a question you'll have to answer.

    Just say no to gov't regulation/social engineering. Just look where Carter and Clinton's policies just landed us.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hack it.

    I can understand Apple wanting total control of the phone. By controlling the apps allowed, they know what's out there.

    Now, what Apple should allow is hacking of the phone (which people do already) Once your phone is hacked, go ahead and install whatever you want. However, a hacked phone gets no tech support and no warranty. I'd be perfectly fine with that as an option. It's kind of like the auto industry that doesn't prevent you from putting turbochargers on your engine. However, if you do, don't expect any warranty coverage because of it.

  1. rmoody

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is bull c***

    You mean to tell me that you are going to control MY phone to the extent that if you don't like an app that someone writes that is an app that I want on my phone that you are going to step in and ban the app and then disable it? Stop it already! It's time that Apple realize that they cannot control something to this extent, the iPhone is great, but the more they do this, the more that phones like the new Android will blow it away. Open up FREE and OPEN app installations outside of iTunes. Give it up already!

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    one more thing I hate...

    about MACNN !

    There is no accountability at this site. Who the h*** wrote this c***-tastic article? Quit screaming Monopoly unless you know what the h*** you are talking about.

    Monopoly defined: Control of a commodity or service in a particular market which enables the one having control to raise the price substantially above that fixed by free competition.

    The keywords here people are "IN A PARTICULAR MARKET". You get the Apps from the Internet. This is a global market. Google does not have a monopoly over the Internet Search Industry simply because it's the most popular Search Engine [and probably the biggest]. There are dozens of other search engines out there and no one is forcing anyone to use Google.

    Just like no one is forcing anybody to purchase an iPhone. There are 100's [maybe 1000's] of Phones on the market. There are 1000's of Apps for those various phones. Granted Apple is controlling the iPhone specific market - but guess what - it's their f****** product. Within industry regulations over consumer goods - THEY CAN DO WHAT THE f*** THEY WANT TO WITH THEIR PHONE - period. It is not a monopoly!

    The main thing Apple is doing by trying to maintain a semi-closed eco-system with the iPhone akin to their Desktop equivilant is to keep the general mass consumer from f****** anything neccessary up on the phone and avoid 5 million people at one time complaining because they deleted some importatnt file and can no longer use their phone as a phone.

    Be happy that they did open it up to some extent. Granted I do think Apple does have that stick up their a** a little too far with things like the NDA between developers and not having clear cut criteria for removing Apps and letting others remain. Their App filtering process needs to be dramtically improved upon.

    Monopoly it is not. But why all the bitching because a company wants to control their corporate proprietary technology is beyond me - like there has never been a company in all of history to ever do that.

    If you don't like the iPhone - don't buy one. If you are bitching about the Apps or lack thereof - download the SDK and write your own.

  1. nativeNYer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I really don;t get what Apple is trying to do here. Oh, I know they're trying to control every aspect of the iPhone experience, and I'm sure Steve and co. truly believe this is hat people want.
    But I suspect this is all going to backfire on them in the long run This kind of tight fisted control simply isn't necessary. Yes, they should block applications that violate certain ethical boundaries, or are plain illegal, vulgar, useless, etc. But its going beyond just blocking the obviously bad apps, and now has gone too far IMO.

    As others have stated, Apple is skirting rather close to having some regulatory folks knocking on their doors. I don't see how this is all that different from what MS did years ago by blocking alternate media players or browsers in favor of their own programs. If they keep up this kind of bullshit bullying of developers, I wouldn't be surprised to see a bunch of them come together with a lawsuit against Apple. Form what we've already heard, it doesn't seem like Apple is at all responsive to their complaints or requests for more detail, so they'd be within their rights to bring a suit against them.

    For the record, I hate lawsuits, but I wouldn't be too upset to see one levied against Apple for their stupid tactics surrounding the App Store. I'm beginning to feel they really deserve it.

  1. nativeNYer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    UberFu-everything you state is true. Apple does not have a monopoly over the iPhone, because there are alternatives, even if those alternatives don't live up to the same standards as the iPhone/touch.
    And yes, Apple can do whatever the f*** they want with their phone. But let's be clear here. If Apple wants to be so fascist in their control over the iPhone, they should adjust their expectations accordingly going forward for what kinds of developers will work on apps for the device. If they keep this up they will lose a lot of potentially good developers, especially now with Android making its way to market. iPhone is NOT the only game in town, and Apple needs to be a little more careful how they handle this situation if you ask me. Time will tell if I'm just blowing smoke out of my a** or if things will take a turn for the worse for Apple around this new platform. We'll see. I hope Im wrong of course, because I don't want to see the iPhone lose against the competition.

    All i know is I, and many others, are not happy with the directions we see Apple going in over the past year or so. I'm concerned that arrogance is once again reigning at Cupertino, and we all know how things turned out for Apple the last time that happened.

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